Minna—It was a gathering of the who’s who in the nation’s business and political firmament at Minna, yesterday, to await the arrival of former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), his son, Mohammed, and the body of the former First Lady, Mrs. Maryam Babangida, who died of ovarian cancer in a U.S hospital on Sunday
Babangida arrived in a chartered German aircraft marked CS-DPF at 5. 45 p.m. but without the body of the deceased. The retired general sobbed profusely as he alighted from the plane and was unable to acknowledge greetings from sympathisers.
The Emir of Minna, Alhaji Umaru Farouk Bahago, received him at the tarmac but he could not respond to his greetings as he broke down in tears.
At the airport were, Governors Emmanuel Uduaghan,Aliyu Shinkafi, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Aliyu Babangida, Aliyu Shinkafi, Chief Tony Anenih,
Gen. Abubakar shed tears for Maryam Meantime, the former Head of State, General Abdusalam Abubakar, also shed tears on arrival at the Babangidas’ residence for the first time to condole the family members over the demise of former first lady, Mrs. Maryam Babangida.
Gen. Abubakar, who is a neighbour to the Babangidas, had been in Niger Republic on an international peace mission trip for over 20 days and had to cut short the trip to pay his last respects to the deceased.
The former Head of State, who was driven straight to the Babangidas’ residence was moody as he stepped into the compound.
After condoling with the family, he refused to grant interview to newsmen who waited for his reaction over the death of the deceased, saying, “I will be back; I will see you people later.”
However, Governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Aliyu Shinkafi, has described the late Maryam as a mother and a role model to everybody, especially the womenfolk
Answering questions from newsmen at the Babangidas’ residence, the governor, who is an in- law to the family having married Aisha, the first daughter of the deceased said, “she was a mother to us, it is a pity that she died when the nation needed her services most.”
He prayed God to grant her eternal rest and the family the fortitude to bear the loss.
Similarly, Minister of Interior, Alhaji Mustapha Shetima, who was a minister under Gen. Babangida’s regime, described the former first lady as “very simple, straight-forward and always ready to assist,’‘ adding that she was an example for all women to emulate.
Speaker of Niger State House of Assembly, Alhaji Musa Ma’ali, described the death of the former first lady as a great loss not only to Niger State but indeed, to the country.
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